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Sasha Thackaberry

Colleges use FAFSA information to reject students and potentially lower financial aid p... - 34 views

  • When would-be college students apply for financial aid using the FAFSA, they are asked to list the colleges they are thinking about attending. The online version of the form asks applicants to submit up to 10 college names. The U.S. Department of Education then shares all the information on the FAFSA with all of the colleges on the list, as well as state agencies involved in awarding student aid. The form notes that the information could be used by state agencies, but there is no mention that individual colleges will use the information in admissions or financial aid -- and there is no indication that students could be punished by colleges for where they appear on the list.
  • Now, some colleges use this “FAFSA position” when considering students’ applications for admission, which may affect decisions about admission or placement on the wait list, said David Hawkins, director of public policy and research for the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
  • So the institution is disinclined to use up a precious admissions slot for a student who is unlikely to enroll. 

    “The student has no idea that this information is being used in this context,” Hawkins said. The federal government "doesn’t indicate it. Institutions certainly aren’t telling students they are using it. Certainly, this is a concern from this association’s standpoint.”

  • ...2 more annotations...
  • It's unclear if the Education Department was aware of this issue until contacted by Inside Higher Ed on Friday. The department now says it will review the longstanding practice of sharing the FAFSA positions with every college.
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